Wide Left is written by Vikings superfan Blair Anderson, who convinced Bring Me The News that it was a good idea to give him a platform to unleash his emotions. It feels like a good idea now, but honestly, we're a little worried about what will happen once the Vikings lose a few games. Speaking of...
It was November of 2017 and the Minnesota Vikings were in the midst of their best season in nearly a decade. As the Vikings hosted the hated Green Bay Packers for a NFC North battle, Aaron Rodgers rolled out for a pass and was destroyed by Anthony Barr on a perfectly legal hit that broke his collarbone.
The weeks that ensued were quite the show in a group chat I have as salt spilled everywhere from the hit. As I showed them photos from the first ever “Anthony Barr Appreciation Day” at a tailgate the next week, one of the John Deere Cult members in the chat spewed this nugget out.
“WHY DON’T YOU BE BETTER?”
Flash forward to today and those words are echoing in my head. It’s not because I feel humbled by the Vikings 21-16 loss to the Packers on Sunday, but it’s more thinking of Kirk Cousins. That’s because for the Vikings, Cousins needs to “BE BETTER.”
Overall, it was a terrible afternoon by the Vikings. The refs had decided to drink some of the Miller Lite before the game (which you never, EVER do under any circumstances) and the Vikings graciously spotted Rodgers to a 21-0 lead. But just as much as I want to be the first to drive the “Fire Zimmer” bandwagon this year, my thoughts turn to Kirk Cousins instead.
When Cousins was signed to this team, he was supposed to be an upgrade over Case Keenum. From a pure talent standpoint, you could make the case that is true. But as we venture into the early stages of Cousins’ second year, we’re already seeing signs that this just isn’t going to work out.
Say what you want about Cousins' 10-attempt performance against the Falcons, but there is no reason to put any trust in him at this point. On Sunday, Cousins had one of his “Bad Kirk” games, fumbling when he felt a steady breeze, missing open receivers and a first-and-goal fiasco that will send many Viking fans to Fleet Farm to repair the holes in their drywall.
As the Vikings moved the ball on the ground thanks to Dalvin Cook, Kevin Stefanski had visions of Mike Zimmer screaming “BALANCE!!!” In his ear and decided to call a pass. As was the case for most of the game, Cousins was pressured and decided to roll out. With the Vikings firmly in control in a 21-16 game and five minutes left, any cool, calm QB throws the ball to the sideline and lives to see another day.
Instead, the only NFL quarterback with commercials worse than Aaron Rodgers (Sorry, Pizza Ranch), decided to play the hero, throwing up a 500-style mystery box that was intercepted by Kevin King.
This play spawns so many questions. First, Cook was GORING the Packers on the ground. Why do you decide to pass? Second, why doesn’t Cousins realize the situation and just calmly head back the huddle? Does he want people to like him, because this isn’t it.
Instead, Cousins added to the legend that he struggles against any team with a pulse. While he looks like a Pro Bowler against the crappy teams in the world (and maybe except for Buffalo), he completely craps himself in front of a resemblance of a big game, leading the Vikings to their impending doom.
In the end, this is the type of performance (14-for-32, 230 yards, TD, 2 INT) that gets people fired. There’s a long way to go, but in the first couple games of the season, Cousins needs to “BE BETTER” if the Vikings are going to go anywhere.